Associations of Rainfall with Childhood Under-nutrition in Rwanda: An Ecological Study using the Data from Rwanda Meteorology Agency and the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey

Assumpta Mukabutera, Jamie I. Forrest, Laetitia Nyirazinyoye, Habimana Marcelin, Paulin Basinga


Seasonality of weather and climate can affect many of the complex pathways of nutrition. Methods: Using Rwanda demographic and health survey (RDHS) and precipitation measurements collected in 2009-2010; we assessed the association between rainfall and childhood malnutrition: stunting, underweight and wasting. Childhood under-nutritional status was assessed by Z-scores for weight-for-age (WAZ), weight-for-height (WHZ) and height-for-age (HAZ), as primary outcomes for this analysis.

A total of 4176 children under five years were included in the analysis. The prevalence of underweight was 11.4%, stunting was 44% and wasting was 3%. After adjusting potential confounders (mother’s BMI, mother’s education, residence and wealth indices), children residing in the area with high rainfall were more likely to be stunted (OR=1.58; 95%CI=1.28,1.96; p<0.001) while children in the area with moderate and high quantity of rain were less likely to be wasted (OR=0.50; 95%CI=0.31,0.82; p=0.006 and OR=0.34; 95%CI=0.20,0.58; p<0.001 respectively).

Rainfall patterns may affect the nutritional status  (under-nutrition) of children under five years of age. Estimating the effect of rainfall on malnutrition may help to better predict regions of vulnerability to under-nutrition. we suggest further study for more information about the mechanism of this association.



Malnutrition; Under-nutrition; Child under five; sub-Saharan Africa; Rwanda; DHS; climate; rainfall

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